NRL Finals 2017: Did the Cronulla Sharks and Manly Sea Eagles really have reason to complain?

Gripes: Shane Flanagan and Paul Gallen. Photo: AAPSharks coach Shane Flanagan felt compelled to take a dossier of “disgraceful” decisions to his post match press conference after his side’s week one finals exit.

And Sea Eagles boss Trent Barrett was just as livid with the NRL Bunker after arguing two “unbelievable” calls cost his Manly their season.

But what does the tale of the tape say? We run the rule over the most contentious rulings in the Sharks’ shock loss to the Cowboys and the Sea Eagles’ defeat at the hands of the Panthers.

Sharks v Cowboys Incident 1: Cronulla’s Jayden Brailey pressures Cowboys kicker Michael Morgan. Photo: Fox Sports

38th min:Jayden Braileyapplies pressure to Michael Morgan on the last play and the ball is kicked into his hand as he tries to make a tackle, ricocheting into touch and the Cowboys are awarded a scrum feed.

Flanagan says:”Going into tackle a kicker, the kicker kicks the ball at him, he doesn’t play at it. Scrum, Cowboys feed.”

Video verdict:Brailey doesn’t make a legitimate attempt to charge down the kick, but referees have been consistent in similar instances when a defender’s hand comes into contact with the ball from a pass. Line ball call.

Incident 2: James Maloney professional foul. Photo: Fox Sports

40th min:James Maloney is sent to the sin bin for pulling back Ethan Lowe as he pursues a grubber into the in-goal.

Flanagan says:”When is James Maloney a professional foul? It’s not a professional foul, it’s a penalty, if that. Luke Lewis got run off the ball every time. Go and watch the video and see how many times he got knocked off the ball in the kick-chase. The touch judge is calling on the sports ears ‘Lachlan Coote offside’. So what’s first? Penalty to us.”

Video verdict:Coote is several metres behind the play andonside when Michael Morgan threads a kick into the in-goal. Maloney clearly impedes the attempt of Ethan Lowe to retrieve the ballby sticking his arm out to ensure the Cowboys forward can’t make a play at scoring a try. Good call.

Incident 3: Ricky Leutele tackled without ball. Photo: Fox Sports

53rd min:SosaiaFeki is dragged into touch by Kyle Feldt as Ricky Leutele looms up in support on the inside with Kane Linnettin close attention.

Flanagan says:”Sosaiai Feki goes down the sideline in a really important part of the game and goes to pass it to Ricky Leutele … and guess what, he got tackled without the ball.”

Video verdict:Leutele is tackled to the ground by Linnett without the ball, but Feki looks to have gone into touch beforehand and the centre appears in front of him in any case even if the pass was thrown. Good call.

Incident 4: Jason Taumalolo try. Photo: Fox Sports

63rd min:Jason Taumalolo wrestles four Sharks defenders over the line and claims a try after falling to the ground. It’s sent the video referee as a try and the call stands.

Flanagan says:”I couldn’t see where the ball was grounded but [the referee]makes a decision. The bunker, I understand, it was always going to come back as insufficient evidence to overrule. But I want to know where the referee got his evidence from in the first place.”

Video verdict:It is unclear on replays whether Taumalolo has got the ball down. Line-ball call.

Incident 5: Andrew Fifita knock-on. Photo: Fox Sports

75th min:Andrew Fifita stoops low to gather a grass-cutting Michael Morgan kick and is ruled to have knocked the ball on. The Cowboys level the game up in the next set with a penalty goal.

Flanagan says:”If anyone on this planet thinks Andrew Fifita knocked that ball on … it went through his legs, tunnel ball, through his legs.”

Video verdict:The ball touches Fifita’s hands and goes backwards through is legs. Bad call.

76th min:Matt Prior is penalised for dislodging the ball from Shaun Fensom in a tackle, paving the way for Ethan Lowe’s penalty to level the scores in the dying minutes.

Flanagan says: “Matt Prior [is]effecting a tackle. They say he pulls it out and [the Cowboys]kicka goal.”

Video verdict:Fensomappears to simply lose control, in similar fashion to how Cronulla’s Ricky Leutele receives a penalty in the first half when he drops the ball, a decision that precedes a Sharks try. Bad call.

80th min:Paul Gallenappeals for what would be a match-winning penalty in the last minute after being dragged down just inches short of the line. As he tries to get to his feet the ball pops loose, Scott Bolton’s hand ever so briefly coming into contact with the pill.

Flanagan says:”Trying to get up to play the ball and there is a bloke who pulls the ball out. But go down the other end of the field and Matt Prior, effecting a tackle, they say he pulls it out and he gives a goal.”

Video verdict:Bolton’s arms are wrapped around the ball in the ruck but Gallen appears to just let it go. Good call.

Sea Eagles v Panthers Incident 1: Dylan Walker offside from Blake Green kick. Photo: Fox Sports

48th min:Dylan Walker speeds through to ground a Blake Green kick, but the referees want to check he has two feet behind the kicker when the ball leaves the five-eighth’s boot. It’s sent to the bunker as a try.

Barrett says:”The on-field referee and the two touch judges thought he was [onside]. Yet the video ref was 100 per cent certain that he was in front.”

Video verdict:The tape suggests it’s extremely difficult to definitely say Walker was offside. Given the on-field ruling of try Manly can feel aggrieved. Dubious decision.

Incident 2: Tyrone Peachey try, no knock-on called. Photo: Fox Sports

74th min:Bryce Cartwright tries to dribblea kick into the in-goal close to the Sea Eagles’ line, but it deflects off Daly Cherry-Evans’ boot and into the torso of Tyrone Peacheywho swipes at the ball afterwards and then grounds it across the stripe. It’s sent to the video referee as a try.

Barrett says:”At 10-10, how you get an on-field decision when a player kicks it into one of our players, it ricochets off him into the Penrith player’s chest, off his hand … how they can say that they are 100 per cent confident that is a try is beyond me.”

Video verdict:Who knows? Having watched it countless times, it can’t be 100 per cent said Peachey definitely makes contact with the ball via his hand. Very hard to overturn.

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